Monday, April 30, 2012

First Impressions and Animals....

Just watching the Today show with a preview of Diane Keaton's new movie, Darling Companion. A dog movie! Being a dog lover, this sure sounds like one I want to see. But the first preview I see the guy loses the dog! Well not a first good impression - of the male character.

Funny how sometimes things get stuck in your head, but to me, any movie that centers on an animal I have to see - War Horse. Sad but sure rooted for the horse!

Adventures of Tin-Tin - still on my list as the dog is so cute.

Writing-wise, maybe that's why subconsciously I usually put a dog in most of my stories. Usually they add something to the story (they should if they are there!)

In my kid's mystery, Searching for a Starry Night, the dachshund Petey is right in middle of the mystery.

In my Girl Zombie story, a German Shepherd dog Chico is there as protection tho the main character (who is part Z) wonders if he will smell that she is "different."

Adding a dog or another pet or animal to a story can only make the story better, imo anyway. You know for sure that is one character the reader will love. haa!

** Do you like to read books with animals or do you put animals in your own writing, and why?

* (PS - Looking at the new pix, wish I would have made it to that conference!)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spring Fling Recap

For the last two days I've been attending our Chapter's bi-annual Spring Fling Conference. Each year the committee seems to outdo themselves, and this year was no exception. I think this year's event was the best ever.

It was fablulous to mingle and meet fellow authors, agents, and editors. I got to hang with my fellow Wild Rose Press authors and the Acme Babes! I strengthened friendships forged at monthly chapter meetings as we had more time to sit, chat, and enjoy meals together.

The workshops provided a wealth of information, tools, strategies, and tips which I will attempt to assimilate over the coming days. My brain is still spinning.

I discovered Susan Elizabeth Phillips is just as funny and kind and generous in person as she appears on-line and from her books. There is something humbling about hearing a mult-published, award-winning, hall of fame author say she cannot write a synopsis. And to have her use the pronoun 'we' when she discusses the challenges, struggles, and truimphs of writing.

I pitched a mss to Megan Long of Harlequin Superromance, who was gracious enough to offer advice and suggest I 'drop her name' and send it along to the American Line, for which it seemed better suited.

On the downside, I had the bookseller order way too many of my books for the book signing and I can home with a loaded credit card and a box full of my own books. Oh well. What can you do?

All in all, I'd say it was a fabulous weekend, and the only bad part, is tomorrow I have to return to the 'real' world and can't bask in my author persona all day long.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pitch Palooza While Daydreaming! by DL Larson

Spring is here and it's Spring Fling time again for the Chicago area romance/mystery writers. This Midwest conference for writers will be my third and I'm looking forward to it,if only ... 1. I had more time to prepare 2. Had the perfect pitch 3. Had the smooth style to catch an editor's attention 4. I could just say, "buy my book, you won't regret it!" 5. I didn't have to fight the traffic to get there I think you get the idea. In a perfect world it would all be so easy to promote my work; I would have no trouble writing the next book. It too would be a best seller and everyone, simply everyone would be happy! Unfortunately real life slapped me up side the head and said, "go pack! Time's a wasting. You don't have time to daydream!" So despite the fact I haven't had much time to prepare, I have been working towards a pitch of some sort. If anyone has seen me driving lately, they might think I've slipped another notch mentally. I've been practicing my pitch as I drive. I tend to wander in my delivery, thinking of something more important I should share with each run-through. Not what one would call productive, but I keep veering back to my "main theme." I realized something else too. Just like my sister, I move my arms when I talk. I'm sure I looked like a dork while driving, waving my hands about. I suppose stating to an editor to just purchase my book is a bit forward and not nearly as suave as one might think, so I will continue practicing my pitch as I fight Chicago traffic. Consider yourself forwarned ~ don't get too close to the lady in the red car waving her hands around and looking as if she's talking to someone in an empty car while racing down the expressway heading toward Second City! Til next time ~ DL Larson

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

There's More to Being an Author Than Some Would Believe

Life has been hectic lately. Along with keeping up with what my friends are doing on the various social networks I belong to, I planned and held my Book Launch Party last Sunday. It's not as easy as some might think. Thursday, my blog at The Blood-Red Pencil, outlines the steps I took to get that party done right.

I'm glad to say it went very well, with a steady stream of friends and relations stopping by for print copies of my latest romantic thriller, Forever Young: Blessing or Curse. Some also bought Killer Career, which came out 2 1/2 years ago. One friend downloaded my thriller on Kindle instead, and asked me to sign a bookmark for her.

Before that, I submitted two short stories to be featured in the Corner Cafe anthology early this summer. When I know the exact date, I'll spread the news. I'm also halfway done writing Blessing or Curse, my sequel to Forever Young: Blessing or Curse, and hope to get that finished sometime this summer. Of course, I'll tell everyone about that as well when the time comes.

And, this Friday, I, as well as a number of our Acme Authors Link members will take part in the Spring Fling Writers Conference at the Chicago Mariott NW in Hoffman Estates Illinois. I'll be doing a workshop about Blog Book Tours on Friday at 1:00 pm, also offering Forever Young: Blessing or Curse and Killer Career at their book signing, plus attending more workshops, and moderating two workshops on Saturday.

All this goes to prove there's more to being an author than just getting words down on paper. I don't drink any of those energy drinks, so I have to rely on eating right and trying to get enough sleep so I have enough energy to get everything accomplished, or at least as much as I can!

What about you?  Are you busy with writing related projects?

For excerpts and buy links to all my books,

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Take It or Leave It

So I've been doing some reading about midlife weight gain: why it happens, what to do about it, etc. The reading has actually been very interesting. Of course, each book gives different advice based on the 'expertise' of the author. Some of the ideas were really great and I've already started adding them to my lifestyle. Such as eating smaller meals more times a day instead of large ones less often. Not skipping breakfast. Changing the kind of exercise I do. Sometimes the authors disagreed or had opposite opinions. One said exercise was best in the morning. (No way I can do that with my work schedule.) Another said it didn't matter what time of day you exercised, as long as you did it. (That I can handle.) One said to give in to those chocolate cravings. (Now that I can get on board with.) While another said to limit dessert intake to twice a week. (No way. I'm a dessert-a-holic. My mom always used to say the something sweet of dessert lets your tummy know its done eating. Now there's advice I like!) One said the amount of calories you take in matters. The other said dieting is the worst thing you can do to your body. I think ultimately what it comes down to is learning to 'listen' to your body and do what's right for it so you feel comfortable in your own skin. After all, it's your body and you have to live with it. Will I ever fit into a size four again? Probably not, but if I feel good about myself and have a healthy body, does the number on the waistband of my jeans really matter? And I'm not a twenty year old anymore. I'm in my forties. If the number says six or even eight, I think I can live with that. This got me to thinking as I was going over a mss last night. It was one I'd written years ago, redid, and sent to an editor friend, not as a submission, but to have another pair of eyes take a look at it before I pitch it next weekend. I really trust this editor. She's good at what she does. She contracted my first three books and I learned a lot from her. But as I was reading some of her suggestions, there were some things she commented on that I didn't agree with. Many of her suggestions are right on the money and work for the story. But, in the end, it's my story, and I have to do what I feel is right for it as the author. So, as with anything in life, people have a lot of opinions to offer. But advice is just that. You can either take it or leave it. Only you can decide what's best for you or your writing. Until next time, Happy Reading! Debra

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why A Writer? by DL Larson

I often wonder why I chose this life as a writer. Or, did being a writer chose me? I've been at this for so long it's difficult to remember the sequences that led me to where I am today. How about you? Do you remember why you chose a writing career?

Reading has always been a great passion of mine. Even the mundane parts of reading manuals or instructions. I always found the mistakes in written words and found it aggravating that words were mispelled or used inappropriately, while other folks shrugged as if saying, "who cares? We're putting this thing together not editing a best seller." Yet I find reading my new phone instruction manual impossible to follow. And I wonder where my skill as an editor disappeared to! Then I re-evaluate the situation and I worry about the experts who wrote such a manual, appalled at their lack of writing skills.

So I pause for a moment, readjust my thinking, noting that the writer/editor/critquer called DL Larson has taken over and has the urge to fix the broken sentences to repaired. Call me a word mechanic, I can't help myself, it bugs me to see broken structure when it comes to words.

The other day I saw a toddler having a tantrum. It was nothing serious, just a little guy frustrated at not getting his way or not having the skill to express his wishes or maybe Mom was determined to get her way for once. I don't really know, but I had to smile when Mom said, "Use your words." I wanted to ask her if she was a writer.

Since I can't think of anything I'd rather be, being a writer suits me fine. I knew when I was ten years old I had a story to share. I still haven't written the story that perked my interest toward putting words to paper. Maybe someday I will accomplish that goal. It took a few more decades before I finally settled down to the business of writing as a career. There's been struggle, challenge and satisfaction, and always the urge to keep trying.

So tell us, why did you chose a writing career?

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Night to Remember

On April 15, 1912 Titanic succummed to her injuries and sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The tragedy captured the hearts and minds of the world. This fascination with the majestic ship continues today. On the 100th anniversary of her sailing and sinking, the media is filled with reminders, memorials, and rememberances.

Last night my local historical society hosted "An Evening Aboard the Titanic". It wasn't so much a remembering of the tragedy, but a celebration of the people who had sailed upon her.

'Passengers' could opt for a steerage ticket and partake in a corned beef and cabbage buffet. Or, for those inclined, a captain's table ticket would provide them with a served multi-course meal featuring items from the Titanic's actual menu. (I opted to dress up and join the Captain at his table, my hubby decided steerage was more his style!)

All passengers were greeted by Captain Edward J. Smith and received replica boarding passes. The 'unsinkable' Molly Brown circulated among guests, as did John Jacob Astor and Helen Churchill Candee.

A unique photo opportunity was available. Before dinner, the Captain offered a prayer and a brief moment of silence for all of those lost at sea. But the night focused much more on celebrating friend'ships' than it did on sinking ships. A trio provided lively Irish music, and passengers were able to test their Titanic knowledge with a round of trivia.

All in all, it was a spectacular night, one I will aways remember.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Family Vacation by Margot Justes

I spent a week with my whole family at sea; a Celebrity Cruise to the Eastern Caribbean.

Even Dina who hates cruising-but went for the family-admitted
this one was not all bad. She did get to go to 3 wine tastings, the last one
was a course on proper glass selection. Her new motto, "Life is too short
to drink wine from the wrong glass." Apparently the correct glass makes a
huge difference in the taste of the wine.

On our last dinner, Dina reminded the sommelier about using the correct glasses, and soon the master sommelier brought the large, wide rim and ultra thin goblets to our table. I have no idea what wine was selected, all I can tell you is it was red. I'm not a wine drinker, and saved my calories for chocolate.

The two little munchkins loved being at sea. My grandson said he wants to go on a cruise for his birthday, which is this May. Somehow, I don't think that is going to happen.

This was my first cruise on Celebrity, but not my last. The service was exemplary, even cold water, juice and ice towels were provided as we boarded the ship from the excursions. It was very hot and very humid. There was a tent with a couch and a couple of lounge chairs, just in case you wanted to take a break before going back to the ship, or while waiting for your

There was even an artist in residence, Graham Denison, a palette knife artist. I
watched him work and found it fascinating that a couple commissioned a painting
using colors that are currently in their home. I wonder what happens if they
change the paint on the walls?

Mr. Denison is British, and his work has a distinct European
flair, scenes from Paris, Venice and Portofino dominated the available selection.
Bill and Solonge liked his work so much that they bought an enhanced serigraph,
a scene from Portofino; and no it will not match their decor at home.

I found the glass furnace on board ship to be truly astounding, there were lectures provided by the blowers in residence and sponsored by the Corning Museum of Glass. All the pieces that were completed during the lectures were signed by the artists and sold at a charity auction on the last day at sea.

I'm looking forward to another Celebrity cruise.

Till next time,
Margot Justes
Hearts & Daggers
A Hotel in Paris

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Get a Life

Sometimes I have to remind myself there is more to life than writing and marketing. Today was one of those days when I just buckled down and spent tons of hours on basement cleaning.

The good news is I got something accomplished.

The bad news is there's way too much more to do to get the basement in order.

I had to stop because I was exhausted.

Until I find time to make more progress down there, I'm reminding myself there's more to life than a clean basement.

Morgan Mandel

To find evidence of my writing life, you'll find
excerpts and buy links to all four of my books

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Holidays are such a wonderful time to remember and carry on traditions.

Later today both sides of the family will be over and we'll feast on ham, potatos, green been casserole, deviled eggs, and a lamb cake from Jewel.

Grandma and Grandpa will bring Easter baskets for our nieces and nephews, and an egg hunt will ensue.

In a few moments I'll head off to church and sing those age-old hymns.

One Easter tradition that has gone by the wayside is Easter bonnets. No one (young or old) seems to wear them anymore. It kind of makes me sad.

What traditions will you celebrate today? Are there any you miss? Any you can do without?

Happy Easter!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

All I Need To Know I Learned From the Easter Bunny! by DL Larson

Spring is here and so is Easter! The Easter Bunny is one funny dude, hopping around hiding colored eggs for children to find and enjoy. His philosphy on life is pretty awesome too. No matter your age or attitude, the Easter Bunny has the solution to living a good life:

Here's a few lessons in life from the Easter Bunny:

- Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

- Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.

- There's no such thing as too much candy.

- All work and no play can make you a basket case.

- A cute tail attracts a lot of attention.

- Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day.

- Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.

- Some body parts should be floppy.

- Keep your paws off of other people's jelly beans.

- Good things come in small, sugar-coated packages.

- The grass is always greener in someone else's basket.

- To show your true colors, you have to come out of your shell.

- The best things in life are still sweet and gooey!

May the joy of the season fill your heart ~ and may you never be a rotten egg!

God Bless You!

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Books Gone Viral

If you're on Facebook, like to read or write books, come on over to Books Gone Viral - 

Our group is young, yet already has over 650 members!

Our purpose is to promote and find books, so stop by and find a book to read or tell us about yours, and also add yours to the Docs.

Also, there's lots of Likes and Tags going on for Amazon pages and Facebook Author Pages, for those who like to participate.

Morgan Mandel
Find excerpts and buy links for all of Morgan's books at:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Tax Man Cometh

So, we all know that the deadline for filing our federal and state income taxes is just around the corner, but this year we actually have until Tuesday, April 17th.  The reason?  Well April 15th in 2012 is on a Sunday and April 16th, which would be the next date set by the IRS, falls on Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia and apparently we just don't mix the two so we have until Tuesday, April 17th this year.

The problem is that those extra two days may help in the short run, but in the long run if you're a procrastinator it just drags out the inevitable pain of filing taxes.  The key is keeping good tax records year long and then taking the time to sit down and correlate your writing income and expenses with your federal and state income tax returns.

The leading income tax preparation software makes filing your taxes from home so much easier than it has ever been BUT you still have to keep records and receipts and know how to enter this information into the program.

So, after you feel that relief from filing your taxes this year, take some time to sit down and figure out what you'll do starting today to ensure that you have all your writing income and expenses well documented before the next tax filing season.  After all, since we have an extra two days this year, it means we have two days less to focus on the current tax year.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Today let's play Imagine...

Your book becoming a best-seller.
Your book becoming a movie.
Your book becoming a series of movies.
Your book raking in millions.
A theme park named after it.
The studio movie lot becoming a new tourist destination.


Saw on TV how the Harry Potter Studio Tour is now open on the Warner Brothers lot in London.

I have to admit I never got into the books, though I did like the movies and saw several. The scope and theme of the theme park and seeing all the stuff on the movie set sounds like something that would be incredible to view in person.

** What's the one place you'd like to go or see your book turn into?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Back in the Swing of Things

I just returned yesterday from a fabulous Spring Break in Florida. It's been a long time since we've taken the whole week and gone somewhere, and this was simply delightful.

We got to catch up with family, friends, and even got a chance to spend our anniversary with Mickey at Disney.

The weather was perfect: we went to the pool everyday, cruised in the convertible, and I for one, read and read and read (six novellas and two full-lengths). All in all, a much needed time away to rest and relax.

And now it's back to reality. Back to chores at home. Back to work tomorrow. Back to chilly temperatures. (Which really isn't fair because when I left for Florida, the Midwest was having Florida-like temperatures up here.) Back to long sleeves and pants - yeesh, no one is even going to see my tan.

But, all in all, it's actually nice to think about getting back into a routine. I've been spinning some ideas for edits on a mss in my head (my hubby even helped me do a little brainstorming in the car while we drove) and I'm itching to work on that today. School will be in the home stretch: One more quarter to go. And I do have to say it's lovely to be back in my own bed.

Vacation is a little like opening a really good book: it's a time to escape, a time away, a time to be somewhere else. And now it's time for "The End."

Until next time,

Happy Reading!